The one person

(in memory of Marilyn)

Full moon,
a phone call,
and you’re gone.

You tried to be my friend, but I —

You were so much older, and I —

I let you come a little way,
then drew a line

I remained aloof,
didn’t want to give
yet more
of myself

and now you’re gone.

Never again will you tease me,
call me a pet name,
try to make me do
your bidding—
trying, too hard, to
connect

Never again will I hear you say
‘Come outside and talk’
to which I only ever once
said yes

Never again will your thin fingers
take one careful morsel
from my gluttonous snackbox

Never again will you ask me
for a drug to drown the pain

Now I understand
why you needed it.

Something bursts
— a rush of blood —
and you’re gone.

You were the one person in the room
who could truly see me—
the one person—

and now you’re gone.

Brave, beautiful, beloved

(Portrait of Rita)

Commissioned 2009. This work may not be reproduced by any process, including printing, without permission.

In all she did, she loved. The glow of her!
Her Welsh voice, its gentle lilts and rolls
a balmy pool with bubbles, waves and ripples.
Her lipstick-pretty mouth. Her peach-bloom cheeks.
Her neatly cultured brows and bright brown eyes —
a sigh of velvet candle flames, not stars.

Her hair like gold-dust spread on gleaming water,
glinting like her jewelled wrists and throat
and fingers, their nails lacquered and shaped,
dreamily draped yet poised, precise and ready.
Her body plush, yet firm enough to lean on.
Her arms soft, yet strong enough to hold one.

Her home sang of her country-cottage heart.
The warm and comfy — sofas, cushions, drapes,
foliage, her roomy soul, her arms —
embraced the small and shiny — copper, glass,
china, jewels, precious hearts, bright eyes.
Each item laid in place with care: a blessing.

She nurtured and collected delicate things.
Necklaces, rings. Clocks, statuettes, shoes,
pretty plates. Flower-hung, lace-hung hats.
Austrian blinds in gathers, frills and curves.
And many precious pictures of family and friends
honoured in frames on walls, where she could see them.

She lived to love, was conscious of how her touch
affected others, created beauty for others
in every moment, in all she did and made.
This woman of diamonds, woman of gold, bouquet
of chosen roses, lover of all things small —
small dogs, mice, bugs and little human hearts —
she helped them grow in the garden of her arms.

Her calm arms a harbour for wild ships,
      for Debbie, for Leanne
Her reliable smile a quiet place to sit,
      a familiar chair and table
      for Lorraine
Her laughter a homecoming, a rain of memory,
      a swing, a slide, a treehouse,
      a dolls’ picnic,
      a secret shared
      for Pat
Her entire self — her body, mind and spirit —
      the puzzle solved,
      the pattern matched,
      the question answered,
      the door unlocked,
      the path revealed
      to a place of peace
      for Ross.

Rita walked in glowing joy and love,
in brave grace, and warmth, and mirth, and beauty.
Rita. A true friend forever.
She left too soon, but left with dignity —
a lady from her dawn until her sunset.